Title:
Spray container storage and retrieval system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A spray container storage and retrieval system including a holster for receiving a sleeve therein. The sleeve is designed so as to provide an efficient vertically-oriented channel guard for protecting against accidental discharge of spray containers receivable within the sleeve. In certain embodiments, an optional spring may be provided in a lower portion of the sleeve in order to bias the spray container upwardly therefrom when the holster is opened.



Inventors:
Froelich, David T. (Minonk, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/545544
Publication Date:
04/17/2008
Filing Date:
10/11/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/245
International Classes:
B65D83/00; B65D25/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VANTERPOOL, LESTER L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERENATO & WHITE, LLC (6550 ROCK SPRING DRIVE SUITE 240, BETHESDA, MD, 20817, US)
Claims:
1. A spray container storage and retrieval apparatus for storing and allowing retrieval of a spray canister including a trigger and spray nozzle, the storage and retrieval apparatus comprising: a holster defining a cavity therein, said holster including a flap that may be selectively moved between opened and closed positions; an elongated sleeve including an approximately cylindrical elongated base portion receivable in said cavity of said holster, said sleeve including an upper opening proximate a top end thereof of sufficient size to receive the spray canister, said top end defining a top edge partially circumscribing said upper opening; and said elongated sleeve further including a channel guard extending vertically from said top edge, said channel guard formed by two ears separated by a trigger receiving gap therebetween, said channel guard adapted to fit underneath said trigger to prevent accidental discharge of said spray canister.

2. The storage and retrieval apparatus of claim 1, wherein said elongated base portion is defined by a cylindrical wall having a wall thickness, said two ears having an ear thickness matching said wall thickness.

3. The storage and retrieval apparatus of claim 1, wherein said two ears are integrally formed with said elongated base portion.

4. The storage and retrieval apparatus of claim 1, wherein said two ears are separated by a distance substantially equal to a width of said trigger, so that said channel guard is adapted to receive said trigger between said two ears.

5. The storage and retrieval apparatus of claim 1, wherein said channel guard is adapted to maintain said spray canister elevated from said holster to aid in a smooth forward draw of said spray canister from said holster.

6. The storage and retrieval apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a horizontal ledge extending horizontally from said top end at a location that is opposite said channel guard, said ledge providing a seating surface for said spray canister.

7. The storage and retrieval apparatus of claim 6, wherein said horizontal ledge is vertically lower than said channel guard.

8. The storage and retrieval apparatus of claim 7, wherein said top edge slopes around a circumference of said upper opening and down from said channel guard to said horizontal ledge.

9. The storage and retrieval apparatus of claim 1, wherein said holster includes a flexible approximately U-shaped portion integrally formed with said flap, and first and second side walls extending between and connecting first and second respective upstanding walls of said approximately U-shaped portion.

10. The storage and retrieval apparatus of claim 1, further including a spring disposed at a bottom portion of said sleeve for providing an upward biasing force to bias the canister at least partially up and out of said sleeve when said flap is in an opened position.

11. A spray container storage and retrieval apparatus for storing and allowing retrieval of a spray canister including a trigger and spray nozzle, the storage and retrieval apparatus comprising; a holster defining a cavity therein, said holster including a flap that may be selectively moved between opened and closed positions; an elongated sleeve including a base at least partially receivable in said cavity of said holster, said sleeve including an upper opening of sufficient size to receive the spray canister so that the canister may be removably provided in said sleeve; and said elongated sleeve further including a channel guard extending directly vertically above a top edge of said upper opening, said channel guard adapted to fit between an upper grip portion of said spray canister and said trigger.

12. The storage and retrieval apparatus of claim 11, wherein said elongated sleeve is a cylindrical body with an outer radial wall, said channel guard projecting longitudinally above said top edge.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to an apparatus for enabling an individual to carry a spray container. More particularly, this invention relates to a system and method for carrying a container of spray, such as a self-defense pepper spray or make which enables easy and safe access thereof.

DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART

Systems for carrying spray containers are old and well known in the art. For example, see U.S. Pat. No. 6,145,654; U.S. Pat. No. 5,392,975; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,477,999, the disclosures of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference.

The system of U.S. Pat. No. 5,392,975 includes a holster which receives a sleeve therein. The sleeve is elongated and includes a flange extending laterally outward from its upper end to aid in the formation of a trigger guard. Unfortunately, the upper end flange/trigger guard of the '975 patent is undesirable for a number of reasons. For example, the trigger guard is sometimes ineffective in that once the spring within the sleeve forces the spray canister even slightly upwardly, the trigger guard is no longer effective and spray may be accidentally discharged. Additionally, with the can sitting down in the sleeve, it is difficult for the user to draw in a smooth forward motion as required for effective safety.

It is apparent from the above that there exists a need in the art for an improved system for carrying pepper spray and/or mace canisters which: (i) provides an efficient trigger guard; and (ii) improves the draw of the canister while protecting the trigger and/or (iv) allows easy access for a user to quickly and efficiently remove the canister from the sleeve and/or holster.

It is a purpose of this invention to fulfill any or all of the above-described needs in the art, as well as other needs which will become apparent to the skilled artisan from the following detailed description of this invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of this invention to provide a spray container storage and retrieval apparatus/system which enables a user to easily and efficiently access a spray canister housed therein.

Another object of this invention is to provide a spray container storage and retrieval system including a holster for receiving a sleeve therein, wherein the sleeve includes structure which functions as an efficient trigger guard to prevent accidental or incidental discharge of spray from a container disposed in the sleeve.

Another object of this invention is to provide a spray container storage and retrieval system including a holster and corresponding sleeve for receiving a spray canister, wherein the sleeve includes structure for preventing accidental spray discharge therefrom even if the spring forces the spray container upward a small amount.

Another object of this invention is to provide a sleeve which functions to maintain the spray nozzle in a given direction relative to the sleeve when a substantial or reasonable portion of the canister is in the sleeve.

Generally speaking, this invention fulfills any or all of the above listed objects and/or needs in the art by providing a spray container storage and retrieval apparatus for storing and allowing retrieval of a spray canister including a trigger and spray nozzle, the storage and retrieval apparatus comprising: a holster defining a cavity therein, the holster including a flap that may be selectively moved between opened and closed positions; an elongated sleeve including an approximately cylindrical elongated base portion receivable in the cavity of said holster, the sleeve including an upper opening proximate a top end thereof of sufficient size to receive the spray canister, and the top end defining a top edge partially circumscribing said upper opening; and the elongated sleeve further including a channel guard extending vertically from the top edge formed by two ears separated by a trigger receiving gap therebetween and adapted to fit underneath said trigger to prevent accidental discharge of the spray canister.

This invention will now be described with respect to certain embodiments thereof, along with reference to the accompanying illustrations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a spray container storage and retrieval apparatus/system according to an embodiment of this invention, including a holster, a sleeve receivable in the holster, an optional spring to be located in the bottom of the sleeve, and a spray canister receivable in the sleeve.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the sleeve of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a side plan view of the sleeve of FIGS. 1-2.

FIG. 4 is a side plan view of the sleeve of FIGS. 1-3 including the spray canister disposed therein.

FIG. 5 is a side cross section view of a spray container storage and retrieval apparatus/system according to the above embodiments of this invention, the system including the illustrated sleeve and spray canister receivable in a holster of a type shown in FIG. 1 with the sleeve shown in cross section.

FIG. 6 is a front plan view of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN EMBODIMENTS OF THIS INVENTION

Referring now more particularly to the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals indicate like parts throughout the several views.

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of spray container storage and retrieval apparatus/system 3 according to an embodiment of this invention. System 3 includes holster 5, sleeve 7, optional spring 9, and spray canister 11. FIG. 2 is a top view of sleeve 7, while FIG. 3 is a side plan view of sleeve 7. FIG. 4 is a side plan view of sleeve 7 with a canister 11 disposed therein in a position that the canister may assume when the flap of the holster was in a closed position covering the sleeve/canister.

Referring to FIG. 1, holster 5 includes flexible flap 13, first and second approximately parallel side walls 15, and approximately U-shaped bottom portion 17 which is adapted to receive sleeve 7 therein. Side walls 15 extend between and connect opposing upstanding walls of U-shaped portion 17 of holster 5. Hook and loop (e.g. Velcro®) male 19 and female 21 fasteners (or vice versa), may also be provided so as to enable the holster to be selectively opened and closed by a user wearing the holster on his/her belt or the like. As illustrated, a fastener is provided on flap 13 and the other fastener on the main body of the holster. When closed, flap 13 is in a downward position so that fasteners 19 and 21 matingly adhere to one another so as to maintain sleeve 7 and canister 11 within cavity 31 of the holster. Instead of the hood and loop closure fasteners, other types of fasteners may instead be utilized (e.g. male and female snaps, buttons, zipper, or the like) in other embodiments of this invention.

When it is desired to remove canister 11 from the holster, the user may simply pull flap 13 upwardly to disconnect fasteners 19, 21 in order to expose and remove canister 11 from sleeve 7 and holster 5. As shown in FIG. 1, holster 3 is not entirely closed, but instead is at least partially open 20 so as to allow air circulation therein/therethrough. In preferred embodiments, the bottom of the holster is at least partially closed to potentially support sleeve 7. However, in alternative embodiments the sleeve may be otherwise supported (e.g. by horizontal ledge 70 on top of the holster) and/or the bottom of the holster may be open.

In certain embodiments, holster 5 includes a first piece of flexible material (e.g. canvas, leather, plastic, felt, denim, or the like) that forms flap 13 and U-shaped portion 17. One end of the first piece is folded about itself to form the U-shaped portion, and second and third pieces of like flexible material 15 are connected (e.g. stitched, sewn, glued, or otherwise adhered) to opposing approximately parallel walls of portion 17 to form the holster. Optionally, another elongated piece of like flexible material (not shown) may be sewn or otherwise adhered to the back of the holster to form a belt loop to enable the holster to easily be worn on a user's belt.

While in preferred embodiments all portions of holster 5 are of the same flexible material, it is recognized that different types of material (flexible or non-flexible) may be used for different portions thereof on alternative embodiments.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 4, spray canister 11 includes a cylindrical metallic base portion 23 as well as a plastic upper grip portion 25, trigger 27, and spray nozzle 29. Grip portion 25 includes opposing approximately parallel side walls 33 which are adapted to be gripped by the user when the user removes and/or inserts the canister from/into sleeve 7. Pivotal trigger 27 extends downwardly from an area below nozzle 29 so as to define an elongated or extended trigger gripping surface. When it is desired to spray mace, pepper spray, or the like from the canister, the user picks the canister up, holds portion 23 in his/her hand, and pulls trigger 27 toward the canister body. Such actuation of the trigger causes the spray to be directed from nozzle 29.

Referring to FIGS. 1-4, sleeve 7 is received in, and removable from, cavity 31 of holster 5. Cavity 31 is defined between at least side walls 15 and the approximately parallel upstanding portions of approximately U-shaped portion 17. Sleeve includes upper end 35 and lower end 37, as well as cylindrical hollow base portion 39. Sleeve 7 is preferably sufficiently rigid and closed to protect canister from damage from impact, sharp objects, and adverse environmental conditions. Base portion 39 is preferably cylindrical in shape as illustrated, but alternatively may be oval, rectangular, triangular, or the like in cross section. In certain embodiments, bottom end 37 of sleeve 7 is completely closed for reasons apparent to those skilled in the art. However, it is contemplated that bottom end 37 of the sleeve may be at least partially or fully open in alternative embodiments of this invention, as illustrated by the small aperture provided in the bottom of the sleeve in FIG. 2.

Still referring to FIGS. 1-4, the upper rim 41 of the upper end 35 of sleeve 7 includes: trigger guard 55 and arcuate or partially cylindrical wall 45 for seating the sleeve 7 in the holster 5. In the preferred embodiment, the partially cylindrical wall 45 extend around the centerline 62 to define a circular trigger-side 46 about an angle α of about 180° with FIG. 2 shown angle α to be about 200°. The partially cylindrical wall 45 then continues along a substantially straight-line portion 47 terminating at the support ledge 70.

The channel guard 55 is formed by two vertically-extending ears 55a, 55b having substantially the same thickness as the walls of the base portion 39. The ears 55a, 55b are disposed at the top edge of rim 41 and are separated by an angle β of about 30°-40° when viewed from the top (see FIG. 2). The ears 55a, 55b are separated by a distance sufficient to receive a conventional trigger 27 for the spray canister 11 therebetween. In this manner, the trigger rests on the surface 50 interposed between the two ears 55a, 55b. Vertically upstanding ears 55a, 55b limit or substantially prevent rotation of canister 11 within the sleeve (i.e. the trigger is prevented from moving laterally to any significant extent by ears 55a, 55b), thereby maintaining canister 11 and its spray nozzle 29 in a given pointing direction relative to the sleeve when a substantial or reasonable portion of the canister is in the sleeve (i.e. when a portion of trigger 27 is in any part of trigger guard 55). As a result the trigger 27 is automatically locked and unlocked by respectively inserting or withdrawing it from the channel 55.

While trigger guard 55 is approximately rectangular when viewed from the front in the illustrated embodiments herein (e.g. see FIG. 6), it is contemplated that the channel may instead have a triangular, oval or circular cross section in alternative embodiments of this invention. In preferred embodiments, trigger guard 55 is defined by the ears 55a, 55b which project above the upper rim about ¼″ so as to allow the trigger to be removably inserted thereinto and removed therefrom with ease by the user.

In embodiments absent spring 9, when flap 13 is opened canister 11 is in the position shown in FIG. 4 and the user may pull it out of the holster and sleeve by gripping walls 33 and lifting the canister. However, in embodiments where spring 9 is provided at the bottom of sleeve 7, when flap 13 is opened the spring biases or pushes the canister upward so as to cause the top of canister 11 to protrude from about 0.1 to 2.0 inches above top end 35 of sleeve so that it may easily be grabbed by the user and withdrawn from sleeve 7 for use. In spring 9 inclusive embodiments, when canister 11 is in sleeve 7, and flap 13 is closed, the flap closure maintains the canister at least partially in the cylinder against the biasing force of the spring in a position similar to that shown in FIG. 4 (or FIG. 5).

Trigger guard 55 and the vertical ears 55a, 55b are connected to (e.g. integrally formed with by way of injection molding of plastic) sleeve 7.

Once given the above disclosure, many other features, modifications, and improvements will become apparent to the skilled artisan. Such other features, modifications, and improvements are, therefore, considered to be a part of this invention, the scope of which is to be determined by the following claims.